Co-parenting, or the practice of sharing the duties of parenthood with someone you aren’t involved with romantically, can have its pros and cons.
While it’s clear that moving on from an ex is especially difficult when you have to see them often, it is also helpful to have someone with whom to share parenting responsibilities.
Nonetheless, co-parenting can seem daunting when you are just starting out. Click here to learn more about what co-parenting can look like for different families.
In addition, it can be helpful to examine the pros and cons to find out what will work best for your situation. You don’t have to be best friends with your co-parent to be perfect parents.
Instead, simply learning more about how to communicate effectively as co-parents can allow the pros to outweigh the cons.
Pros of Co-Parenting With an Ex
Choosing to co-parent with an ex, even one you don’t personally get along with, has numerous benefits for both children and parents alike. Let’s take a closer look.
- Better for your child’s health. Studies show that having multiple supportive figures in one’s life during childhood can increase feelings of security and self esteem while simultaneously decreasing anxiety and stress. This means that retaining both parents in equally supportive roles can be immensely beneficial for the mental health and wellbeing of your child.
- More financial support. In the United States, shared parenting situations are much more likely to receive child support benefits than single parent households.
- Weight off of your shoulders. Having a person to parent with can take a lot of the pressure off. When you share parenting responsibilities, you can take breaks when needed, whereas if you were a single parent, you would have to do all the work yourself.
- Building a relationship with your ex. While breakups are always hard, it can be a good thing to develop a cordial relationship with your ex, if you so desire. Having the mutual goal of raising children can be a great bonding experience to help you achieve a healthy relationship outside of your past romantic connection.
Cons of Co-Parenting With an Ex
Just because co-parenting can be beneficial doesn’t mean it’s simple. For some families, co-parenting might actually become more of a challenge than a helpful tool. Below are some cons to consider before deciding if co-parenting is right for you.
- Lots of hard work. Not only is parenting hard work, but doing the communication that is necessary to make compromises and mutual decisions with your ex can be very difficult. It is possible to have a successful co-parenting dynamic, but it will involve extra thought and intentionality.
- Limitations on freedom. Choosing to raise kids with someone with whom you are no longer romantically involved can be tough as you are tethered to their choices and lifestyle to a great extent. You may not be able to take the liberties you would be able to as a single parent in order to stay close by or on the same page as your co-parent.
- Disagreements with your ex. Needing to make tough decisions with anyone can prompt arguments and disagreements, and these might be extra difficult to avoid when you have a history of disagreements already. Getting onto the same page as co-parents can be difficult and painful, but with a little perseverance and compromise, it can be achieved.
How to Know You Are Successful Co-Parents
It can be extremely difficult to co-parent with your ex, especially if things ended poorly. You may have past histories of relationship difficulties, and now you are put into a situation where you have to work together to raise your child.
You may encounter difficulties, but that doesn’t mean you are not successfully co-parenting. As long as you maintain good communication and do what is best for your child, you can consider yourself effective co-parents.
When children feel supported, safe, and free to explore themselves and their identities, it’s likely that your parenting skills have paid off.
Be sure to communicate with your children throughout this process, too; listen to their experiences, understand their frustrations, and try to work with them to create a situation that feels as natural and comfortable as possible.
Unfortunately, co-parenting is not for everyone. Romantic breakups can be difficult to navigate, and if those emotions get in the way of raising your child, a different solution may be preferable.
However, many parents choose to co-parent as it can be a great way to maintain stability for your child as well as take some of the weight off of your own shoulders.
With a little hard work and good communication, co-parenting can be right for you.